$20m loss fear over WorkSafe shift cuts

Rebecca Casson

By John Van Klaveren

DOUBT over WorkSafe’s full relocation to Geelong has emerged after State Government failed to guarantee the transfer of all 550 jobs.
The Independent asked whether all 550 jobs would be relocated but a spokesperson said: “The Government is committed to the relocation of WorkSafe to Geelong. There will be no job losses“.
The doubts grew last week after the Independent reported a review of WorkSafe and the TAC could water down bipartisan election commitment to the relocation. Community and Public Sector Union Victoria secretary Karen Batt said the review would consider “how they are going to move which 300 jobs”.
South Barwon Liberal MP Andrew Katos then accused the new Labor Government of trying to “weasel out” of its commitment”.
The relocated 550 jobs were touted before the election as worth $50 million to Geelong’s economy. Reducing it to 300 jobs would cut $20 million from the economic benefit.
WorkSafe has also been included in a Geelong-based Australian Injury and Disability Insurance Network (AIDIN) with TAC and National Disability Insurance Agency, which also have offices in the city.
Committee for Geelong chief Rebecca Casson said she had written to Mr Scott to stress the importance of Worksafe to the AIDIN’s future.
“The relocation of the whole of WorkSafe would be important in including it into the network,” Ms Casson said.
“We would like to see as many of those jobs coming to Geelong as possible but clearly any new government would want to do a review to make sure the two organisations are aligned.
“If there are some opportunities to work better and smarter that would be something that would come out.
“The government will make the right decision because the TAC move was an outstanding success.”
Ms Casson said despite the review being scheduled for completion mid-year, she did not want to see any delay in the relocation.
Any relocation shortfall could also affect three proposed office building projects seeking to accommodate WorkSafe as a tenant.
The proposals are for a 12-storey office building on the Kings Funerals site in Myers St, a $120 million nine-storey high-rise on the Carlton Hotel car park and another building on the corner of Malop and Gheringhap Sts.
A Kings spokesperson hoped the full contingent of WorkSafe staff would move to Geelong.
“We’re continuing to pursue the WorkSafe option and waiting for the expression of interest to be released, outlining what WorkSafe is looking for in terms of office accommodation.”